Keynote and Plenary Speakers

APGA 2013 Conference Speakers Bring National-International Perspective

In keeping with APGA’s vision of “a world where public gardens are indispensable,” the APGA 2013 Garden Evolution Host Committee has announced a world-class lineup of keynote and plenary speakers with a wealth of experience in national and international circles.

Keynote Speaker, Sandra Day O'Connor

Sandra Day O’Connor embodies the key themes of 2013 APGA Conference: adapt, evolve and engage. Born in Texas and raised on a ranch in Arizona, she became the first woman Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1981. Justice O’Connor’s early years were not easy—spent largely in isolation on the family ranch, without electricity and running water. Excelling in a male dominated field, she graduated third out of 102 at Stanford Law School. Among her many achievements before nomination to the Supreme court was becoming the Arizona State Senate Majority Leader, a first for women anywhere in the U.S.

Justice O’Connor will speak about adapting and evolving to suit ever-changing environments and circumstances, how some of these lessons can apply to botanical gardens and arboreta in the 21st century, and her vision of a world where public gardens are indispensable. She will communicate these messages through personal stories about growing up on a ranch in Arizona, her love of the American West, and what it takes to reach the highest heights.


Photograph by Dane Penland, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States


Plenary Speakers

Dr. Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS),
is an international authority on conservation biology and environmental policy. Prior to his role with WCS, Dr. Samper served for ten years as Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, as well as Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 2007-2008. Dr. Samper has served on the boards of the Carnegie Institution for Science, Biodiversity International, The Nature Conservancy, and the American Association of Museums.



HRH Princess Basma bint Ali of Jordan is the Founder of the Royal Botanic Garden in Jordan and a leading advocate forbiodiversity conservation. She is the first Arab woman to receive Time Magazine’s “Hero for the Planet” title, was included in the United Nations’ 2002 Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievements, and was awarded the Henry Shaw Medal by Missouri Botanical Garden, for her pioneering work in founding the Royal Botanic Garden.